Just With You

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CHAPTER 31

Loading the final box in the truck bed, I close the tailgate and turn to find Stella standing behind me, holding a large laundry basket.

“Stella, give me that,” I say, rushing to grab it from her.

“I’m perfectly capable of holding that,” she grumbles, watching me toss it in the cab with her hand on her hip.

“I know, but I don’t want you carrying anything, okay? Just relax and let me finish this up.”

“Miller, I swear to God….”

“Swear all you want, but I’m not budging on this. You’re carrying my babies, sweetheart. No picking up heavy things, and no pushing yourself, okay? I want you all safe and healthy.”

She rolls her eyes at me, but I drop a kiss to the top of her head and slide around her to go grab the cooler we filled with perishable food. I take it out to Stella’s rental car and set it in the trunk. Closing it, I stride back inside and find her packing the last of her things in the living room.

“So, something else, babe. We need to get you a new car.”

She nods while stacking DVDs in the box.

“Yeah, I was thinking of going this weekend to the dealership. At first I figured I could get another Honda, but I think we might need something bigger for our family.”

“I agree. I’m trading in the Challenger next week.”

Her eyes widen and she abandons what she’s doing to come sit next to me. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I was talking to Garret the other day, and he mentioned how Sadie had finally upgraded her sedan for an SUV, and it got me thinking about my own car. It’s not big enough for us all.”

“But, Jace, you love that car.”

I nod, shrugging a shoulder. “Yeah, but I love you more.”

She gives me a wry grin and then goes back to packing. I help her, and when the box is all loaded up, she leans across it to kiss me.

“Let’s go home.”

“Best idea ever.”

“Why am I so nervous? I think I’m gonna puke again, and not just ’cause of your babies.” Stella is pacing around the kitchen, wringing her hands together. Our families will be here in about twenty minutes for dinner, and tonight is the night.

“Stell, come here.”

She walks over and I pull her to me, her arms squeezing tight around my waist as I gently hold her face. “It’s going to be fine, baby. I promise you. They’re our family, and they all love us.”

She nods, and I drop my forehead to hers. Her twelve-week appointment was the other day, and we finally got to hear their heartbeats. I’m not ashamed to admit it brought me to tears. Her too. Stella has a tiny bump, and if she’s in tight clothing, it’s obvious, so tonight she’s in a flowy shirt that hides her stomach.

Taking her by the hand, I guide her over to the couch and sit down, extending one of my legs up on it and pulling Stella down so she’s between my spread legs. She leans back against my chest, and I rest my chin on her shoulder.

“Thank you,” she murmurs to me, and I kiss the side of her neck.

“For what?”

“You’ve been a rock these past weeks. I never thought we’d celebrate our one-year anniversary with twins, that’s for sure. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that it’s way too damn short, and we should enjoy every moment we can. I can’t wait for our family to be complete.”

“God, I love you,” I tell her, taking her lips in a searing kiss.

“I never asked. What do you want?” she asks, and I raise an eyebrow.

“What do I want?”

“Yeah. Boys, girls, or one of each?”

I shake my head with a laugh. “Healthy, that’s what I want.”

“Me too.”

I lean over for another kiss when my doorbell rings, and I let out a groan. “I’ll bet everything in my wallet that’s Drew. Asshole is always early.”

Stella and I stand from the couch, and I go answer the door, turning to give Stella an “I told you so” look when I find my brother standing on the porch.

“Well, if it isn’t my favorite brother and his gorgeous lady,” he jokes, giving me a hug before wrapping his arms around Stella.

“I figured you’d drive with Mom and Pops,” I grumble, shutting the door.

Drew shrugs and moves into the living room with us.

“Mom was still baking something when I left earlier, so she said they’d see me here. My best guess is she’s bringing a pie or something and that’s why.”

“Sweet!” Stella fist-pumps and Drew joins her, leaving me to just shake my head at them.

Drew starts talking about some badass ride he got to work on today when the doorbell rings again. This time Mason and Jules are standing there.

I get a hug from Jules, and Mason hands me a bottle of red wine. I accept it, noticing that it’s Stella’s favorite kind. I’m moving to shut the door when I see my parents come pulling in the driveway.

As they’re walking up, I find Stella across the room and wink at her.

Showtime.

Stella’s vegetable lasagna was a hit, and I’m glad to see everyone getting along well and enjoying themselves. Drew helped me clean up the table, and now it’s time to break the news. Stella and I agreed on a unique way instead of just shouting that we were expecting. Making my way toward my girl, I grab her hand and squeeze.

“Hey, guys, if we could have your attention for a moment,” I begin, and everyone turns to us. “Stella and I have something special for Drew and Mason in the living room, so if you wouldn’t mind joining us?”

Our brothers both give us strange looks as we usher everyone in, and they both find identically wrapped presents sitting on the coffee table. Drew sets his beer down and reaches for them, passing one to Mason. I wrap my arm around Stella, and we move next to my parents to watch the guys open the gifts.

They both tear into them, but Drew is faster. He sets the box down and takes out a white T-shirt from inside. When he flips it around to read it, his reaction is instant.

“No fucking way!” he shouts, the smile on his face growing larger by the second. Mason pulls his out, and while his reaction is much more reserved, his smile is

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